Afterglow Prismatic Controller & LVL 5+ Wired Headset – Review (@pdpgaming)

With so much selection as far as gaming peripherals go, it can be hard to choose between them all. Today I have the PDP (Performance Designed Products) Afterglow Prismatic Controller for the Xbox One to review, and this is one product that I am looking forward to getting to grips with. Alongside the controller review, I also have the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset review included.

The first thing you see is the eye-catching, high quality packaging. The front of said packaging shows a holographic type image of the controller that changes colour as you move the box around. The back of the packaging has information about the “Signature Prismatic LED Lighting” which informs you that you can change the colour and brightness of the LED lights. Also included is a brief description of the Dual Multi-Function Wheels, as well as the 3.5mm Audio Jack and controls.

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Upon removing the controller from the box, I was instantly impressed with the build quality. Made from a transparent plastic, you are able to see the circuit board and the internal parts of the analogue sticks, rumble packs, etc. The actual controller itself feels very close in quality to the official Microsoft Xbox One controller, as do the A, B, X, Y buttons and the bumpers and triggers. Also included in the box is the user manual, and a 10 foot USB cable.

Now, I will admit, I was expecting my first time using the controller and setting the LED colour, programming the rear wheels, and generally getting to grips with things, to be a bit of a daunting task. How wrong was I?! From the moment I had the controller powered on, I found it very easy to assign the wheels to buttons, as well as changing the LED colour to one that suited me, and lastly, putting the controller into Prismatic mode (I will admit that I found this by accident and it took me a few button presses to figure out what it was that I pressed initially).

There is a small button on the back of the controller, located in the middle between the two wheels that is basically your gateway to fully customising the controller to your needs and preferences. Simply click the button once so that the LED on the front of the controller changes to blue. You can then use the left analogue stick to control the brightness of the LED and the right stick to cycle through the colours. Once you have chosen your preferred colour, press the button on the back to store your colour choice. If you would like to use Prismatic mode, press the button on the back to get the blue LED on the front and click Up on the D-Pad. To set the rear wheels to your preferred buttons, press the same button on the back of the controller twice so that the LED shows as green and then press the wheel of your choice (the LED should then flash green) at the same time as the button you wish to map it to, then simply release the rear wheel. The wheels on the back each have three different functions – scroll up and down, and also press the wheel inwards – so six in total! Lastly, if you would like to turn off the rumble packs inside the controller, press the rear function button three times so you see a yellow LED on the front and click Down on the D-Pad. To turn them back on, press the function button three times and click Up on the D-Pad. If the rumble is on, when you get to the yellow LED light, you will see red LED’s on either side of the controller – if they are off, no red LED lights are visible.  Lastly, to mute the mic when you have a headset connected, press the button that is located beside the right analogue stick, and press again to unmute.

As previously mentioned, the controller quality is pretty amazing. I love the feel of the analogue sticks, maybe more than I like the sticks on the official Xbox controller. They seem to have more grip to them than the original controller sticks, meaning that the usual add-ons that I use for gaming are no longer needed! The controller itself is very light to hold, but it is still very comfortable to have in your hands. I feel that for my size hands, which I would probably say are medium-ish, the buttons on the back of the controller are in the perfect position. The only drawback that I have with this controller is the fact that it is wired. Now this may not be an issue for many people, but for some, maybe with young children or pets, a wired controller may not be the suitable choice.

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Now to move on and cover the Afterglow LVL 5+ Wired Headset.

I’m a stickler for headsets and always enjoy my game more when I have loud game play coming through a headset rather than a TV. To be able to do that, I need a headset that isn’t going to disappoint.

The LVL 5+ headset packaging, much like the Prismatic Controller, is very informative. The front of the box sports a nice side profile image of the headset. The rear of the box gives ample information on the back of the packaging, which includes additional bass impact drivers, easy accessible volume controls, and also the fact that it is compatible with the newer 3.5mm Xbox One controllers.

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In the box you simply get the headset, 2 x AAA batteries, and a user guide, though you really don’t expect to find more than that. The LVL 5+ headset has a long cable that comes down from the left ear cup with a 3.5mm jack on the end. It also has impressive 40mm Neodymium drivers. The volume controls are also located on the left ear cup, and so is the fully adjustable and flexible microphone. The Afterglow branded headband feels nice and comfortable due to the soft material used – this material is also on the ear cups, which only adds to the comfort. Lastly, the bottom half of the ear cups contains the LED lighting that we have become used to seeing on PDP products.

Getting started is really simple. While the provided batteries are not required, using them allows you to use the headset to its full potential. Simply slot in the batteries provided, plug-in the 3.5mm jack (please note; you will need either the Xbox One chat adapter, or a newer Xbox One controller with the 3.5mm port), and you’re good to go. Once the batteries are inserted, the LED lights come to life (green for Xbox One, blue for PS4). You also have the option to enable the Quad Boost function.

Sound quality on this headset is actually pretty good, especially for the price that you pay. I was told that the sound of my voice when using the microphone was clear, though the volume was a little on the low side unless I had the mic close to my mouth. The sound of the game play, however, was really good. I was able to notice the direction of explosions and gunfire, yet was able to sit back and take in the sounds during more relaxed game play. It is worth mentioning that the headset volume control does not work without the batteries. Whereas other headsets draw power from the controller itself, this one does not.

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I feel that with the Prismatic controller, PDP have covered all bases. While some features may take a bit of getting used to, or may even be seen as a bit of a gimmick, the controller is a pleasure to use and in some ways, I actually prefer it over the Microsoft controller. When coupled with the LVL 5+ headset, you really are good to go! The easy access volume controls, on-the-fly button re-mapping, and the impressive LED lighting on both products definitely sets them apart from competitors.  Both products compliment each other really well, and for the price you pay, I would highly recommend both the headset and the controller.

You can pre-order the Prismatic Controller from Amazon UK due for release on November 27th (£49.99).  You can pre-order the LVL 5+ Headset from Amazon UK due for release on November 20th (£37.99).  Both prices correct at time of posting.

Thanks to PDP for supplying both products for review.  Be sure to head over to their website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

PDP Afterglow Prismatic Wireless Headset – Review (@PDPgaming)

When it comes to choosing a new headset for your gaming needs, there is definitely a lot of choice about.  As well as having a large selection of headsets, there are also many different price ranges to choose from.  Do you buy something cheap and cheerful, something in the middle, or splash out on top of the range gadgets with 5.1 this and 7.1 that? Well, I’m hoping that the Afterglow Prismatic Wireless headset from PDP (Performance Designed Products) will show that you don’t have to spend huge amounts of cash to get decent, all-round quality.

As always, with any product, the first thing you notice is the packaging.  The box for the Prismatic headset is easy on the eye.  The front shows a view of the headset from the side, showing the different colours available for the illuminated earpieces.  It also gives you a list of devices that the headset is compatible with.  In this case, you can use the Prismatic headset with the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii & Wii U, PC, and mobile devices.  It’s worth noting that with the Xbox One chat adapter, you can also use this headset with the Xbox One console, and I’m assuming that it works in the same way for the PS4, although I am unable to try this as I do not own one.  The sides of the box has a feature comparison chart, as well as a run down of the custom audio profiles (see images).  Lastly, the back of the box shows a list of what the headset can do – from extraordinary sound, to the easy slide microphone.

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Now for the box contents.  To state the obvious, there’s a headset in the box!  As well as the headset, there is a large collection of wires – 2.5mm to 2.5mm (chat cable for Xbox 360), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, RCA cable with a 3.5mm connector, mini USB cable, and the wireless USB dongle (which is connected by default to the RCA cable via the 3.5.. connector).  As you can see, there is a cable for every occasion!  It is recommended that you charge the headset before using it for the first time, something that I did not do.  I soon charged it once I noticed a low hum while wearing the headset.  To charge, simply hook up the included mini USB cable and watch the lights in the earpieces flash away until the charging is completed, in which case, the flashing stops.

The headset itself seems to be very well built and sturdy.  The earpieces are made of a polyurethane leather type material, which only adds to the comfort of the ‘around the ear’ design.  The earpieces themselves are a decent size, but could possibly be a little bigger for those people with bigger ears.  The headset has a nice amount of flexibility, and is adjustable, although the earpieces do not rotate. The headband is made of plastic and sports the Afterglow branding and when adjusted, you can see the thin metal reinforcement strip that foes through the headband to the earpieces.  Lastly, the inside of the headband has a very nice padding which adds to the comfort factor when in use.  The left ear cup is where all controls can be found.  On the outside of the earpiece itself, there is a transparent plastic design.  Being able to see through to the inside allows you to see the circuit boards, etc, which actually looks quite nice! On the outer side of the earpiece is where the volume wheel is, as well as the mixer slider for voice and game sounds, connections for the 2.5mm Xbox 360 cable input, line in, and the mini USB port.  The front of the left earpiece is where the microphone can be found and pulled out for use, next to which is the Mode button that allows you to choose which lets you select the audio profile that you wish to use.  Lastly, on the outer left earpiece is where you’ll find the power/mute button.

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Now for the fun stuff!  Hooking the headset up to the PC was as simple as it could have been.  Simply plug the USB dongle into a free USB port on the PC itself, and then connect the 3.5mm jack to the speaker/headphone port on the sound card.  Once the drivers have installed themselves, you are good to go!  To turn the headset on, simply press in the button on the left earpiece until it lights up blue and you’re good to go.  Unfortunately, because of the amount of devices I have hooked up to my PC, there is a bit of a hum – this is only present on the PC and with the sound turned down slightly, the hum is not always noticeable.  To set the colour to one that you prefer, simply hold in the Mode button for a few seconds until it starts cycling through the available colours.  When you get to your desired colour, stop pressing the Mode button in and it will stay on the selected colour until the headset is powered off and back on again, or until it is changed manually – if you would rather stay colourless, you can depress the Mode button when you come to the part of the cycle that doesn’t feature a colour. The Mode button also allows you to choose one of the three audio profiles – Pure Audio (blue), Bass Boost (red) and Immersive (purple).  It’s easy to keep track of which profile you have chosen as there is a light at the end of the microphone that changes colour as you cycle through the profiles.

Even though the Prismatic headset is primarily a previous gen headset, I was unable to try it with an Xbox 360 as I sold it literally the day before it arrived.  I did, however, hook up the 3.5mm audio cable to the headset and also to the chat adapter connected to my Xbox One controller and was able to use it for both game audio and chat.  I was informed by friends that my voice came across nice and clear, and it was the same for me whilst listening to them.  I’ve also connected it up to my phone to listen to music, and as previously mentioned, it has been used on the PC.  My partner even likes to take it upstairs at bedtime and hook it up to the TV so that he can watch without disturbing me.

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As far as sound quality goes, I have no gripes with the headset.  Game play was clear and I was able to decipher which location footsteps and gunshots were coming from whilst playing Call of Duty, and hearing the revs of engines in Forza 6 was just mind-blowing.  On the other hand, watching TV and listening to music were both impressive, even more-so with the bass boost audio profile in play – I like to think that the 50mm speakers played a nice role in this!  While on the subject of the bass boost audio profile, the bass levels are more than adequate when in pure audio and immersive profiles – having that bit of extra oomph never hurts though.

Overall, I am very impressed with the Prismatic headset.  The sound quality is great, the build quality is sturdy & makes the headset feel like it can withstand every day uses with ease, and the fact that it can be used across multiple platform makes the whole package worthwhile.  Althought the lights are a cool feature, I can’t see myself sitting here each time I use the headset and scrolling through all of the colours to choose the one I want.  A great headset that won’t break the bank as much as other gaming headsets.  You can currently grab this headset for around £70 on Amazon UK (at time of posting).

Be sure to head over to the PDP website, visit their Facebook, Twitter & Instagram pages!

Astro A40 Gaming Headset + M80 Mixamp – Review (@ASTROGaming @ASTROGamingUK)

When it comes to gaming headsets, I’ll be the first to admit that there are more than a few to choose from.  So when it comes to actually splashing the cash, you want something that can withstand regular use, as well as providing outstanding sound quality.  Is this where the ASTRO A40 Gaming Headset + M80  Mixamp comes into its own?  I’ve had a blast finding out!

As soon as the headset arrived, the packaging was the first thing to impress.  It comes packaged in a weighty cardboard box which is mightily impressive.  The box itself has a matching colour scheme so that it goes hand in hand with the headset itself.  The box is held closed by magnets and upon opening the box (after removing the cardboard sleeve), you are greeted by the headset, which is held in place by a moulded plastic casing.  As well as the headset in the box, you have the M80 Mixamp, a 3.5mm audio cable, and all documentation.

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The A40 headset itself, simply put, looks amazing! The eye catching sky blue and grey colour scheme is stunning, and the build quality feels top grade.  The headset feels not only sturdy, but also very well made.  The build quality does not leave the headset feeling overly heavy or as if it would cause discomfort during use – something that I’ll get to a little later.  The ear pads are made of a cushioned, breathable material, which provides not only comfort, but also keeps the sweat at bay!  When you combine the cushioned ear pads with the swiveling ear cups, a good fit is pretty much guaranteed for heads of all shapes and sizes.  The swiveling cups also make it easy to sit back between games, and take some time out from the headset, making it incredibly easy to twist the cups and lower the headset down so you can wear it around your neck without being prodded by them.  Lastly, the ASTRO branded head band has a strip of the same cushioned material, which only adds to the comfort, making long gaming sessions more enjoyable.  While it felt as if the headset was hugging my head, it was in no way uncomfortable.  I felt reassured that the headset would not end up sliding off my head!

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Before hooking up your headset to your controller, make sure to check that your controller is updated via the console so that you are good to go.  ASTRO even provide a Micro USB cable in the box, making it easier for you.  Once that is done, you simply connect the M80 Mixamp to your controller – that’s it!  Now, ASTRO are known for their famous Mixamp which is used by gamers all over the world.  Combining the Mixamp with the chat adapter, the M80 was born – and it’s just as easy on the eye as the headset itself!  On the Mixamp itself, there is a switch on both the left and right side – you use these to balance out the voice chat and game sound to how you like it.  There is also a volume dial which is found on the bottom of the M80 – there is also a button in the middle of the dial that you use to mute the microphone.  This button lights up red when you are muted, which helps eliminate the whole “hello, is this mic on?” phase. Between the two switches on the sides of the M80, there is the button that gives you control of the equalizer.  There are three preset EQ settings that are as follows.

  • Pro: Boosted high frequencies for competitive gameplay
  • Core: Balance for single player gaming
  • Media: Enhanced bass, for movies and music

I will admit that I tend to keep mine set to Pro (I am definitely no pro!) because I tend to play Call of Duty a lot when playing online.  IF I need to change it, it’s a simple button click, with the LED lights across the front of the M80 telling me what I have it set to.  I will also say that distinguishing sound direction, etc, while using the Pro EQ setting, is a breeze, and being able to set the mix between game sound and voice chat is a massive help!  All buttons on the M80 are very well placed and there is not much chance of you hitting the wrong one if trying to change levels without taking your eyes off the screen.  The overall sound quality from the A40 headset is beyond impressive!  I have used my fair share of gaming headsets in the past, and I can quite honestly say that the quality from this headset blows the rest out of the water.  Everything comes through crystal clear, and when watching a video or listening to music, there was no interference or crackling at all!

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Cable wise, you have the cable that runs from the M80 to the headset itself.  This is only detachable from the headset end, and with the cable running into the M80 at a slight angle, you do have to be pretty careful not to damage it as you’d need a whole new unit, not just the cable.  Also included is the 3.5mm audio cable that enables you to use your A40 headset with a smartphone, or other device of your choice.  I do this quite often, usually just through my phone, and I love the fact that ASTRO actually provide a cable for you to do this.  I am a huge fan of how well they worked while listening to music through Spotify on my phone.  Personally, I wouldn’t use them outside for listening to music on the go as they are a bit big for me to walk around with.  Lastly, there is an app available (iOS only as far as I know) that adds to the whole experience.  Since I only have an Android device, I have been unable to see what features are available.

If you are new to ASTRO products, then I doubt you are aware of the customisable speaker tags.  These tags are held on to the outer side of the ear cups by magnets, and you can design your own, or order set designs from the ASTRO website.  The ones provided with this headset match the theme, sticking with the sky blue and grey colours.  Another very handy thing to mention is that not only can you swap out the speaker tags, but also the microphone.  Simply disconnect the microphone, un-snap the tags, choose the side that you want to use the microphone and then replace the speaker tags again.  It really is that simple!

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Whilst on the subject of the microphone… Not only can it be attached to the ear of choice, it is also extremely flexible and can be moved into a position that suits you, with ease.  During my online game sessions, I have been informed numerous times that my voice is coming through nice and clear, and there was an noticeable difference when compared to my previous headset.  There was no annoying noise caused by my breathing – an issue that I did have previously – and it doesn’t even pick up the sound of the oscillating fan that has been used daily since the horrible warm weather began.

When considering all of the factors of this headset, I have to admit that the ASTRO A40 Gaming Headset + M80 Mixamp is by far the best headset I have used.  With its comfort level, mic quality, and other small features like customising the speaker tags and being able to swap the mic from left to right, it all forms a neat package that any gamer would like to have.  The price tag could be what stops many gamers from getting this headset, but you really do get what you pay for!

This headset is also available in orange & grey.

Razer Kraken 7.1 Gaming Headset – Review (@Razer)

I’ve definitely got used to high quality products from the guys over at Razer, and their Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Sound Gaming Headset was something I was looking forward to getting my hands on. Is it going to be something that continues the long running, high quality success that gamers have come to know and love?

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The packaging for the Kraken 7.1 headset is keeping up appearances, literally.  With its eye catching black and green colour scheme, it definitely catches the eye.  Being a fan of everything green any way, this is a great start as far as keeping me interested.  The box itself shows you what to expect design wise by sporting a nice image of one of the earcups, complete with the mesh finish and the illuminated green Razer logo on the earcup.  Also included on the box is some headset related information, including the fact that it is a 7.1 virtual surround sound headset, and that it has an enhanced digital microphone.  The back of the box lists product details and specifications, as well as a detailed image of the headset.

As with all Razer packaging, getting into the box is almost as good as looking over the outer box.  The box opens from the right to left and you are instantly greeted with a full on view of the headset.  The inside of the opened flap contains a long paragraph relating to the headset.  The headset is covered by an easily removable plastic covering that slides off of the box.  Removing the headset is relatively straightforward enough – unfasten the ties that are holding it in place and take it out of the box.  The braided USB cable is neatly tucked away behind the cardboard sleeve insert beneath the headset and the Razer user manual  and stickers are located above the headset between the insert and the top of the box.

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First impressions of the headset – it feels very sturdy, well made, and comfortable.  The not overly padded, fully adjustable Razer branded headband ensures that the headset does not cause any discomfort during prolonged use, as do the extremely padded and comfortable, foldable ear cups.  The ear cups themselves have a closed cup design to help maxmise the sound.  The Razer logo can be found on the outside of both, as well as the solid, mesh type design.  On the left ear cup, you will find the retractable, enhanced digital microphone, and also the 2 meter braided gold plated USB cable.  It all fits together extremely well and is very, very easy on the eye.

Setting the headset up to get the most out of its features, requires you to download Synapse 2.0 from the Razer website as there is no software CD included.  Once installed, you are required to calibrate the virtual surround sound – this is very straightforward and only takes a few minutes.  Once you have completed the calibration process, you will notice that you have more menu tabs to choose from, including audio, mic, mixer, eq, and lighting.  Each of these menus give you the option to make additional changes to features such as bass boost, sound normalization, and voice clarity, and mic sensitivity/volume.  The EQ menu allows you to choose from a list of presets, and also gives you the option to create a custom preset.  Lastly, if you decide that the lights on the headset (Razer logos on the ear cups and the small light at the end of the mic) are too much for you, you can disable them from within the lighting menu.

While using the Kraken headset, I mostly played World of Tanks, Far Cry 3, and some Battlefield 3, while using Mumble for chatting.  I could not fault this headset at all if I am honest.  Voice chat came through crystal clear, and I was informed that my voice was also coming through clear – clearer than it did while using my previous headset.  I think that the inclusion of a digital microphone rather than a standard mic was definitely a smart move.  Also, if you don’t fancy chatting ALL the time, there is a mute switch located towards the end of the microphone itself – if you do mute it, you will be able to tell because the green light goes off when the mic is off, and on when the mic is on!  The game sounds were, in all honesty, amazing!  Being able to hear sounds coming from all around you definitely helped in identifying what directions the enemy were coming from, as well as being able to hear simple sounds that were not picked up previously.  Put all of this together and you have the perfect package!

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I didn’t only use the Kraken for playing games, though.  I also watched a few films and TV shows while using them, as well as using them for listening to music.  Being able to experience watching TV/films using the 7.1 virtual surround sound  was simply awesome!  It added so much to the overall film and actually made you feel a part of it.  Music wise, there was a lot of bass even with the bass boost turned off, and this kind of overpowered the music itself.  I think it all depends on your music taste when it comes to using this headset for music – if you like music with a lot of bass, then I doubt this will be an issue for you.

I think that anybody who picks up a Razer Kraken 7.1 Virtual Surround Headset will definitely not be disappointed.  With the eye catching colour scheme and the overall comfort factor, this headset would make a lot of people happy.  The crystal clear voice chat and game sounds only adds to the whole gaming experience, and it also adds a bit of a WOW factor to watching TV & films.  Being able to customise the headset to suit you using the Synapse 2.0 software is a nice touch, especially with the list of presets that you have to choose from.  If that wasn’t enough to sway you, maybe the price will?  At time of posting, you can pick this headset up for around £89.00 from Amazon UK

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Tech Specs

  • Advanced 7.1 virtual surround sound engine
  • Enhanced digital microphone
  • Designed for extended gaming comfort
  • Razer Synapse 2.0 enabled
  • Powerful drivers for highest-quality gaming audio
  • Closed ear cup design for optimal sound isolation
  • Foldable ear cups for maximum portability

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm neodymium magnets
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: 112dB
  • Output Power: 30mW
  • Connector: Gold plated USB
  • Cable Length: 2m / 6.56 ft braided USB cable
  • Approximate Weight: 340g

Microphone

  • Frequency response: 100Hz –12kHz
  • Sensitivity @ 1kHz: -40dB ± 4dB
  • Signal-to-noise ratio: 63 dB
  • Pick-up pattern: Omnidirectional

System Requirements

  • PC / Mac with USB port
  • Windows® 8 / Windows® 7 / Windows Vista® / Mac OS X (10.6-10.9)
  • Internet connection (for driver installation)
  • At least 100MB of free hard disk space

Venom Vibration XT+ Multi Platform Gaming Headset – Review (@VenomGamingUK)

Today, I have the Venom Vibration XT+ Headset for review.  The XT+ is a step up from the XT model, and has added support for the PlayStation 4 console.  As well as working with the PS4, you can also use it with the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and Mac.

First up, the packaging.  The front of the box has a half and half design going on.  The left side of the box has the Venom logo, the name of the headset, and a short bit of text informing you about the vibration technology that is included.  The right hand side of the front of the box gives you a view of one side of the headset through a clear plastic window.  Under this window there is a list of the platforms that this headset can be used with.  The back of the box lists several pieces of information related to the headset, including the fact that the headset boasts 40mm drivers, as well as the 3.85 metre cable.  At the bottom of the rear of the box there are a couple of diagrams showing how to quickly set up the headset for both component and HDMI cables.

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The headset itself is securely transported in a clear plastic insert.  The first thing I noticed when removing the headset from the box is how light the headset is.  It has a nicely padded, fully adjustable, Venom branded headband, padded earcups which both have the Venom logo, and the generous 3.85 metre cable. The cable contains the inline volume controls, the USB connector, component cable adapters, and the 2.5mm plug for the Xbox 360 controllers.  Also included in the box is a detachable microphone for the headset, and a user manual.

Connecting the headset up to your platform of choice is reasonably straightforward, especially if you are familiar with setting up headsets previously.  If you do get stuck, the included user manual is helpful as far as getting you up and running.

I don’t have a PS4 so was unable to test it with that console, but I did put it through its paces on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.  The headset vibration feature is something that worked surprisingly well and being able to control the amount of vibration using the dedicated switch on the inline control was a nice touch.  The vibration made all the difference during game play with the 30mm vibration speakers – it was as if it was bringing the game to life that little bit more.  Also included on the inline control box was the mic mute switch, and the volume controls for both chat and game volumes.  Having dedicated game and chat volume control is always a nice bonus because there is nothing worse than not being able to hear chat over the game volume.  The sound quality was very impressive for both game and chat on all platforms, and I was informed that my voice was nice and clear and there were no reports of any feedback or distortion.  Having the logo on each earcup illuminate in an eye catching red colour when in use just added to the list of nice touches that this headset contains.

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The XT+ headset was a pleasure to wear for prolonged gaming periods.  The padded headband and earcups definitely played a large role in the comfort department, as did the fact that the headset is nice and light.  I don’t have massive ears and did not encounter any discomfort during long sessions.  I cannot comment as to how comfortable the headset would be for people with larger ears, though I doubt there would be an issue, if I am honest.

Overall, I am pleasantly surprised with the Venom XT+ Headset.  It provides comfort, it adds to the game playing experience, and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform (all except the Xbox One) is a bonus.  The vibration features adds an extra level to the game that you are playing and having the option to increase and decrease the level of vibration means that it isn’t something that is forced on you.  For the price you pay (£32.99 GBP) and the fact that you can use it on your choice of platform, this is a headset that I would highly recommend.

TeckNet Redragon 7.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset – Review

TeckNet provide gamers with affordable, high quality gaming accessories.  Their gaming range covers every angle of peripherals that gamers could want and need to have a decent game session.  From that range, today I have the 7.1 Channel Surround Sound Gaming Headset.

My eye was instantly drawn to the packaging of the headset.  The striking red and black design on the box really does go very well with the headset colour scheme.  Also on the box, along with the image of the headset, is other information.  This includes the Multi-Function In-Line Controller, to the Ergonomic Leather Earpads.  On the side of the box is an image of the in-line control along with a list of features.  The rear of the box shows a list of product specifications.

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The headset itself is secured in a plastic inlay inside the box.  After removing it from the box, you are greeted with a view of the headset and the in-line controller.  The headset feels very sturdy and well made, as does the in-line control box.  The top of the headband is made from a rubber material and the padding on the inside of the headband is very soft and seems as if it will provide extreme comfort during use.  The rubber material that is used for the headband actually makes the headband extremely flexible which in my experience, is never a bad thing.  The earpads have a very soft padding that feels as if it will add to the comfort factor.  The outside of the earpads both sport the headset logo, as well as the SOMIC branding.  Also on each earpad is a total of 6 red lights – 3 on each side.  The rotating, noise cancelling mic is located on the left side of the headset and also feels very well made, as well as very durable.  Coming down from the left earpad is a red rubberised USB cable which houses the in-line controls, which consist of the volume controls, and two mute buttons – one for the headset, and one for the mic.  Lastly, there is the user manual, and software & driver CD.

When it comes to setting the headset up, it’s pretty straightforward.  I connected the headset up to my PC via the USB cable and installed the provided drivers and software, and was ready to go.

Firstly, I wanted to try out the mic using Mumble.  I was told that my voice was coming through loud and very clear.  In return, I could hear everybody else very clearly.  Next up, I entered a game of World of Tanks to see what the game sound quality was like.  I could instantly hear the difference in the game sound compared to my previous headset.  All sounds were coming through crisp and clear, with an ample amount of bass.  The bass was even more impressive when it came to hearing shots fired from other tanks in the game.  The in-line control box has LEDs that light up when the headset is plugged in, which I thought was a nice effect, especially when coupled with the lights on the earpads (6 on each ear).

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The bundled software gives you the ability to set up the virtual 7.1 surround sound effect by allowing you to reposition the virtual speakers so that the sound suits the action you are doing.  The software is very straightforward to use so should be able to be used by any and everyone.

This headset is not only decent for gaming.  I have used this headset for watching TV & movies, as well as listening to music.  The only slight issue I have come across is when I was watching TV using the headset.  I found the bass to be just a little bassy on select TV shows.  Aside from that, listening to music and watching movies, etc, using this headset is as much of a pleasure as it is using the headset for gaming.

Overall, I am VERY impressed with this headset, especially with the £19.99 GBP price tag.  I am not overly experienced when it comes to PC headsets, but when I compare the TeckNet 7.1 headset with the ones I have used and reviewed previously, I honestly think I would prefer to use this headset over others.  Obviously if you want to pay through the nose for a well known, branded headset, then the sound quality is more than likely going to improve, but personally, I have no issues using this £20 headset for an immersive and quality gaming session.

Sandberg Play ‘n Go Headset – Review

The Sandberg Play ‘n Go headset offers hands free and portable entertainment.  Hopefully it will be able to live up  to expectations.

The headset itself arrives in a see through packaging which allows you to see it in all its glory.  The front of the box shows us that the headset folds up to make carrying it easier and also that it has a detachable cable.  The back of the box lists some information about the headset.  This information is also listed in several different languages.

Removing the headset was reasonably easy once I had figured out how to undo the fastening on the top of the box – a users problem through, to be fair.  The headset itself is sat in a plastic sleeve to help keep it secure whilst packaged.  It is just a case of lifting it out once removed from the box.  Also in the box are the cables required for use with your phone and also for the PC. The 3.5 to 3.5mm jack cable measure in at around 160cm and the cable that plugs into the PC to connect the headset to measures in at roughly 70cm.

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The headset itself feels a bit on the light side but does feel well made.  The headband is fully adjustable and seems to be able to expand enough to fit larger heads.  The headband itself is nicely padded to offer comfort during use.  The ear cups are also well padded and fit over my ears very well.  The only slight issue I have is that after several uses, the headband looks as if it may be coming away from the padding.  You can see it slightly in the image above.   The silver sections on the side of the ear cups is a nice touch as it helps to break up the white colour scheme.  Wearing the headset for extended periods of time does not result in any discomfort either.  I think with the headset being so light (300g roughly) and also with the ear cups fitting over my ears so well, this helps keeps things comfortable.

Sound quality when using the headset for phone calls is very clear and crisp and I have been told that I can be heard clearly too.  Music wise, the sound quality is surprisingly good, especially when you consider the low pricing of this headset.  Using the headset on the PC is pretty straightforward.  Just plug-in the 3.5mm splitter cable into the relevant ports on the PC and plug-in the main cable to the extender cable.  It works fine with Skype and other voice chat programs, again with sound quality being great on both sides.

I really do like this headset.  With it being so lightweight and comfortable, as well as the great sound quality, it is well worth the price that you pay for it.  The only downside, as mentioned, is the slight separation between the headband and the padding.

Gaming

Below is a list of gaming peripherals that would make awesome gifts and stocking fillers!

PC Gamer:
Definitely at the top of my list would be items from Razer. A company well known for the quality and usability of their products, there will be something for everyone. Below is a list of items that would kit out any gamers set-up.

Black Widow Ultimate Keyboard – Razer.com
Vespula Mouse Mat – Razer.com
Naga 2014  Mouse – Razer.com
Kraken 7.1 Headset – Razer.com

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All of the above have excellent reviews and would suit anyone, from a hardcore gamer, to someone who plays casually, male or female!

Console Gamer:
I think that Gioteck have the console side of gaming pretty much covered. From headsets to controllers, there is something to suit most people, and with their upcoming new range release, there is even more to choose from!

EX-05 headset (EX-05S coming soon) (PS3, Xbox 360, PC) – Gioteck.com
FR-1 Racing Wheel (PS3) – Gioteck.com
SC-1 controller (PS3) – Gioteck.com

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Gioteck also have a PS4 range hitting the shelves from November 29th, onwards.  The reviews for all of the above are great, and the prices are even better!

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Kingston HyperX Limited Edition Gaming Headset (@kingstontech @SteelSeries)

Kingston is a brand that is usually associated with products such as PC memory, SSD’s, and USB drives.  To celebrate 10 years of their HyperX range, they have teamed up with SteelSeries to release a limited edition HyperX version of the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Gaming Headset.  I was lucky enough to receive one of these headsets to review.

The box itself shows a clear view of the front of the metallic blue headset through the clear window.  It has both, the Kingston logo, as well as the SteelSeries logo.  You will also find a detailed list of just some of the headsets features, as well as the logos of the teams that are sponsored by SteelSeries and Kingston.  On one side of the box, you will see an image of one of the earcups, as well as an image of the retractable microphone.  You can see the same retractable microphone image on the other side of the box also.  On the back of the box you have a brief description of the collaboration between Kingston and SteelSeries, the specification list, as well as a few more images of the headset.  Lastly, on the top of the box, there is a HyperX 10 Years logo, and the game team logos again.

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On removing the headset from the box, the metallic blue colour scheme was the first thing that caught my eye.  Combining that with the Kingston HyperX branding that you will find in several locations on the headset, it all seems to work very well together.  The headset itself boasts a 1 meter, rubber coated cable that has two gold plated audio jacks on the end.  Also included is a 2 meter extension cable – also with gold plated audio jacks – that you connect the primary cable up to, to enable you to use the headset comfortably at your PC.  On the primary cable there is an inline audio control that can be used to control the volume of the headset, and can also be used to mute the microphone.  This inline control boasts the SteelSeries logo.

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The earcups themselves are 50mm driver units and are the nice metallic blue colour that was mentioned earlier and have a black mesh type design to the outside of the cup, complete with white HyperX branding.  The material used on the earcups themselves feels like a leather type material that is very soft and cushioned to touch.  On the inside of both cups, there is the white HyperX branding again.  On the bottom of the left earcup is where you will find the retractable microphone.  This is very well placed and pulls out without any exceeded force.  The microphone must be facing your mouth for you to be heard, which helps with background noise.  It is easily pushed back inside the headset again so that you can use the headset for music or movies without having the microphone being in the way.  The headband for the headset has two plastic coated metal rods that ensure stability of the headset.  The headband itself automatically adjusts to fit the head of the person who is wearing it by using elasticated metal cables instead of a manually adjustable mechanism.  The headband is a black leather type material with a soft underside and has the Kingston HyperX logo over the top.

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The headset itself is very easy on the eye.  The colour scheme works really well, and the headset is very comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time.  It feels very lightweight when you do have it on your head, and the option to have the microphone pushed back inside the headset when not in use is very welcomed.  The sound quality, no matter what you are doing, is pretty amazing.  You can hear every little sound when playing a game, and whether you are using the headset to watch tv or listen to music, you will not be disappointed.  When you put all of these points together with the price of around £69.00, depending on where you look, you really cannot go wrong with this headset!

SteelSeries Siberia V2 Kingston HyperX Limited Edition Gaming Headset – Review (@kingstontech @SteelSeries)

Kingston is a brand that is usually associated with products such as PC memory, SSD’s, and USB drives.  To celebrate 10 years of their HyperX range, they have teamed up with SteelSeries to release a limited edition HyperX version of the SteelSeries Siberia V2 Gaming Headset.  I was lucky enough to receive one of these headsets to review.

The box itself shows a clear view of the front of the metallic blue headset through the clear window.  It has both, the Kingston logo, as well as the SteelSeries logo.  You will also find a detailed list of just some of the headsets features, as well as the logos of the teams that are sponsored by SteelSeries and Kingston.  On one side of the box, you will see an image of one of the earcups, as well as an image of the retractable microphone.  You can see the same retractable microphone image on the other side of the box also.  On the back of the box you have a brief description of the collaboration between Kingston and SteelSeries, the specification list, as well as a few more images of the headset.  Lastly, on the top of the box, there is a HyperX 10 Years logo, and the game team logos again.

KHX1

On removing the headset from the box, the metallic blue colour scheme was the first thing that caught my eye.  Combining that with the Kingston HyperX branding that you will find in several locations on the headset, it all seems to work very well together.  The headset itself boasts a 1 meter, rubber coated cable that has two gold plated audio jacks on the end.  Also included is a 2 meter extension cable – also with gold plated audio jacks – that you connect the primary cable up to, to enable you to use the headset comfortably at your PC.  On the primary cable there is an inline audio control that can be used to control the volume of the headset, and can also be used to mute the microphone.  This inline control boasts the SteelSeries logo.

KHX3

The earcups themselves are 50mm driver units and are the nice metallic blue colour that was mentioned earlier and have a black mesh type design to the outside of the cup, complete with white HyperX branding.  The material used on the earcups themselves feels like a leather type material that is very soft and cushioned to touch.  On the inside of both cups, there is the white HyperX branding again.  On the bottom of the left earcup is where you will find the retractable microphone.  This is very well placed and pulls out without any exceeded force.  The microphone must be facing your mouth for you to be heard, which helps with background noise.  It is easily pushed back inside the headset again so that you can use the headset for music or movies without having the microphone being in the way.  The headband for the headset has two plastic coated metal rods that ensure stability of the headset.  The headband itself automatically adjusts to fit the head of the person who is wearing it by using elasticated metal cables instead of a manually adjustable mechanism.  The headband is a black leather type material with a soft underside and has the Kingston HyperX logo over the top.

KHX2

The headset itself is very easy on the eye.  The colour scheme works really well, and the headset is very comfortable to wear, even for long periods of time.  It feels very lightweight when you do have it on your head, and the option to have the microphone pushed back inside the headset when not in use is very welcomed.  The sound quality, no matter what you are doing, is pretty amazing.  You can hear every little sound when playing a game, and whether you are using the headset to watch tv or listen to music, you will not be disappointed.  When you put all of these points together with the price of around £69.00, depending on where you look, you really cannot go wrong with this headset!